James Ottinger, a Broward County, Florida sheriff’s deputy, were arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly crashed his car, then drove off. Ottinger, 31, was booked into the Broward County Jail on charges of leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, driving under the influence, and careless driving, according to local news reports. He was asubsequently released on $500 bail bond, sources indicate. It remails unclear whether he has hired a private criminal defense lawyer.
News sources indicate that Ottinger has been working for the Broward Sheriff’s Office for nearly a decade. There is no evidence to indicate that he has ever been in trouble on the job or with the law in the past. While he has not lost his position as a result of the charges, he was initially placed on paid suspension and has now been reassigned to desk duty, according to the press. Neither he nor the Broward Sheriff’s Office have commented publicly on the incident, which is one of many recent Broward Sheriff’s Deputy arrestes (while Ottigner was arrested for DUI, others were arrested for charges including falsifying police reports and drug possession).
Ottinger was reportedly apprehended at approximately 2:00 in the morning last Wednesday. The initial car accident took place near the intersection of Coconut Creek Parkway and Lyons Road, and Ottinger was eventually pulled over in the 4200 block of Wiles Road. Ottinger is accused of hitting a Toyota Corolla driven by an inidentified Coconut Creek man, then failing to stop his car. The man, who remains anonymous, called the police to report that he was following Ottinger as he drove his Nissan Titan so he wouldn’t get away. The crash was reportedly not serious, although the Corolla sustained some rear bumper damage. The financial implications of the crash have not been released, and it remains to be seen whether the crash victim plans on filing charges against Ottinger.
A deputy reportedly resonded to the complaint and found the Nissan. The deputy apparantly attempted to pull Ottinger over by turning his lights and sirens on, but Ottinger allegedly did not pull over until he was three miles away from the scene of the accident. Reports do not mention how long the deputy followed the Nissan before it pulled over.
The deputy purportedly noted that Ottiger couldn’t speak properly, moved sluggishly, and smelled like alcohol. It is not clear whre he was coming from or where he was headed. When the officer spoke to Ottinger about the hit-and-run, Ottinger allegedly told the officer that he had rear-ended a taxi cab but that the driver didn’t wish to file a report and had left the accident site. He also allegedly told the officer that he had had four whiskeys before getting behind the wheel. “Initially Ottinger stated that he had consumed Jack Daniel’s. He later stated that he had consumed Wild Turkey,” the police report was quoted as saying.
Ottinger did not consent to a brethalyzer test, but he did perform several field sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed. He evidently cooperated with authorities during his arrest.